Redistricting led to confusion in City Council seat election

Published 11:15 am Tuesday, April 5, 2022

On Saturday, the Sulphur election didn’t go as smoothly as possible. The city made some redistricting changes based on the latest census information, something that can happen every ten years if populations within council districts shift a certain percentage.

“We didn’t get the information until January, and it had to be input before qualifying, which was Jan. 26 through the 28th,” said Kim Fontenot, Calcasieu Parish Registrar of Voters. “New district boundaries were input by mapping.”

The next step includes putting in registered voter addresses, street by street, by precinct per the new district boundaries.

“Generally, voters would be notified by mail about the change,” Fontenot said.

However, there wasn’t time. Some voters showed up to vote and names weren’t in the book where they thought they should vote on Sulphur Council, District 2.

“Part of Matthew St. used to be in district three, north of Logan. Now, one side is in district three and the other is in district two,” Fontenot said.

During an election, commissioners have full access to the registrar’s office to call with any questions.

“Names were left off certain polls, Frasch,” Fontenot said. “Whenever the commissioner called and we realized what had happened, we put these people in the book and let them vote. As far as we know, everyone who wanted and needed to vote, got to vote.”

No one was turned away, after it was determined what had happened. This change impacted 23 persons.

Only 13 percent of the public voted.

In the Sulphur Councilman District 2 race, Nicholas Nezat received 169 voters to unseat uncumbent Mike Koonce, who received 143.